The 162nd running of the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) headlines a stacked nine-race meeting at Flemington on Thursday afternoon. A field of 14 three-year-old fillies will compete for the $1 million on the line as they look to etch their name in Melbourne Cup Carnival folklore. The best horse racing betting sites are struggling to find a clear market elect, with Zardozi and Tropical Squall vying for favouritism, while their look to be a few nice chances at an each-way price.
2023 VRC Oaks odds
Having finished second in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m), Godolphin’s Zardozi (+200) heads the market at the time of acceptances, with Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) victor Tropical Squall (+280) holding the second line of betting. From there, every other runner in the VRC Oaks betting markets is at an each-way quote. Basillina (+750) and Wakeful Stakes winner Amazonian Lass (+850) are the other runners at a single-figure price.
2023 VRC Oaks speed map
The 2023 VRC Oaks looks to be a fast one. Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott stablemates Tropical Squall and Amazonian Lass will make sure this is a genuinely run 2500m affair, with the Danny O’Brien-trained Served Cold expected to not be far away upon settling. Harlow Mist and Zardozi will likely be midfield upon settling, with Basilina, Aethelflaed and Ethel Maude all expected to be at the rear of the field once runners find their spots.
Continue reading for HorseBetting’s top selections and $100 betting strategy for the 2023 VRC Oaks
2023 VRC Oaks Preview & Form
Amazingly, 25 of the last 39 Oaks winners have come through the Wakeful Stakes, so we’re basing our betting strategy around the form out of that race.
Harlow Mist from the John Sargent yard couldn’t match Zardozi’s sprint over 2000m in the Wakeful when going down by 2.3 lengths to the quinella horses. The step up to 2500m looks ideal for her, however, and despite this being the sixth run in her debut preparation, she is in the right stable to make her presence felt at Flemington. From barrier nine, Michael Dee will look to have the Contributer filly settled just off what looks to be a hot speed. From there, they should have no issues building through the gears approaching the 400m mark. As long as she can see out the trip, Harlow Mist looks a great each-way play in the VRC Oaks.
Aethelflaed was no doubt the eye-catcher in the Wakeful, making up a stack of ground from the rear of the field. Despite being beaten 3.6 lengths, the Matthew Smith-trained filly reeled off a strong finish in her first start out of maiden company. The 2500m should suit her perfectly if her finish was anything to go by, as she was only just hitting top gear late over 2000m. If Mark Zahra can have the daughter of Saxon Warrior settle a pair or two closer to the speed, Aethelflaed can cause a minor upset.
Zardozi arguably should have won the Wakeful, but she couldn’t pick up all-the-way winner Amazonian Lass when it mattered most. In the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) the start prior, the Godolphin filly was as dominant a winner as you could hope to see, and on exposed form, the 2500m looks to be no issue. James McDonald will look to land Zardozi in the first six and have her a touch closer to what he did last weekend. If Zardozi is at her best, she is the one to beat, but +200 for a filly at the 2500m for the first time is too short for us.
Basilinna put in an eye-catching finish in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) and can feature here, while stablemates Tropical Squall and Amazonian Lass may prove too hard to run down if they get things their own way out in front.